Halacha Date: 3 Tevet 5779 December 11 2018
By Popular Request: When is the “Hatov Ve’Hametiv” blessing recited?
Answer: In the previous Halacha we have discussed the law that if one is in the middle of a bread meal and is served wine, one must recite the Ha’Gefen blessing on it. Although the Shehakol blessing is not recited on other beverages, such as water or fruit juice, during the meal, the law of wine is different and one must indeed recite a blessing before drinking it.
The Establishment of the “Hatov Ve’Hametiv” Blessing
If several individuals were partaking of a meal and recited the Ha’Gefen blessing on wine served to them during the meal after which they were served another type of wine, the Ha’Gefen blessing is not recited again on the other wine, for it has already been exempted with the blessing recited on the first type of wine.
Nevertheless, our Sages have established a unique blessing to be recited on the second type of wine which is the “Hatov Ve’Hametiv” blessing. The text of this blessing is: “Baruch Ata Hashem Elokeinu Melech Ha’Olam Hatov Ve’Hametiv.”
Nonetheless, there are many conditions that must be fulfilled in order to recite this blessing. One should therefore be extremely careful not to recite this blessing unless all of the conditions delineated in this Halacha and the next are met.
This Blessing is Only Recited on a Different Type of Wine
Our Sages established this blessing only for those who were originally drinking one type of wine and only then were served another type of wine. However, if they were originally drinking another kind of beverage, such as water or fruit juice, even if the beverage was an expensive alcoholic beverage, such as whiskey or cognac, and were then served wine, the “Hatov Ve’Hametiv” blessing is not recited; only the Ha’Gefen blessing is recited on the wine in this case.
The Reason for Establishment of the “Hatov Ve’Hametiv” Blessing
The Rishonim offer several explanations for why this blessing was established to be recited specifically on wine. The Rosh (Chapter 6 of Masechet Berachot) writes that since we find a song being sung over wine, our Sages found it appropriate to institute this unique blessing on it. Additionally, wine is unique in that the Ha’Gefen blessing is recited at weddings, during Birkat Hamazon, and other occasions as well. Other reasons for the establishment of this blessing are given as well.
In the next Halacha we shall discuss some more details regarding this law.